Paphos is a coastal city in southwest Cyprus, known as the capital of Paphos District. Rich in history and culture, the city is famous for its subtropical-Mediterranean climate and stunning ancient architecture. Paphos was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980 for its ancient mosaics, architecture, and religious significance.
The city was also selected as a European Capital of Culture for 2017. Modern Paphos is a popular tourist resort with a fishing harbor, luxury hotels, and entertainment infrastructure. The economy heavily depends on tourism, with significant contributions from farming, especially banana, grape, and tobacco cultivation. The city’s landmarks include Paphos Castle, the Rock of Aphrodite, and the ancient ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite.
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Attractions and Things to do in Paphos
1. Paphos Castle
Paphos Castle stands by the harbor and has a rich history, originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbor. It was rebuilt, dismantled, and restored by various rulers over the centuries.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the castle’s interior and enjoy panoramic views of the harbor from its walls.
2. Tombs of the Kings
The Tombs of the Kings is a necropolis known for its elaborate and well-preserved burial chambers. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a glimpse into ancient burial practices.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and bring water, as exploring the site involves some walking in open areas.
3. Paphos Archaeological Park
This park covers most of the ancient Greek and Roman city and includes significant remains like the House of Dionysos, the House of Orpheus, and the House of Theseus, all with preserved mosaic floors.
Travel Tip: Allocate enough time to explore the various sites within the park, and consider hiring a guide to understand the historical context.
4. Rock of Aphrodite (Petra tou Romiou)
According to legend, Aphrodite rose from the waves at this spot. The rock emerging from the sea is a picturesque location and a popular tourist spot.
Travel Tip: Visit during sunset for breathtaking views and photo opportunities.
5. Agios Neophytos Monastery
Located northeast of Paphos, this monastery is known for its “Encleistra” carved out of the mountain and features Byzantine frescoes from the 12th and 15th centuries.
Travel Tip: Respect the monastic rules and dress modestly when visiting this sacred site.
6. Yeroskipou’s Loukoumi
Yeroskipou is a town known for its traditional delight ‘loukoumi.’ It’s a sweet treat that has become synonymous with the area.
Travel Tip: Visit a local shop to taste and buy some ‘loukoumi’ as a delicious souvenir.
7. The Great Wall of Lempa
Located in the village of Lemba, this sculpture by Cypriot artist Stass Paraskos is a unique artistic attraction.
Travel Tip: Combine a visit to the Great Wall of Lempa with a tour of the nearby Cyprus College of Art and local artist studios.
8. Aphrodite Hills Resort
A luxurious resort featuring a five-star hotel, 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and spa, located near Petra tou Romiou.
Travel Tip: Even if you’re not staying at the resort, you can book a day pass to enjoy some of the facilities.
9. Paphos Lighthouse
A prominent landmark near the harbor, the Paphos Lighthouse offers a glimpse into the maritime history of the area.
Travel Tip: The lighthouse is near other archaeological sites, so plan a day to explore the area.
Unique Activities in Paphos
1. Akamas Highlights and Blue Lagoon Relax Day
Experience the beauty of Akamas and the tranquility of the Blue Lagoon on this relaxing day trip. The tour offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and relaxation, allowing you to soak in the picturesque landscapes of Akamas and unwind in the serene waters of the Blue Lagoon.
2. Sherlock Holmes Murder Mystery Game
Dive into a thrilling murder mystery game set in Paphos. Channel your inner detective as you solve intriguing puzzles and uncover clues to find out who committed the crime. This immersive experience promises a fun and challenging adventure for all.
3. All-Inclusive Yacht Cruise to Coral Bay
Set sail on an all-inclusive yacht cruise to the stunning Coral Bay. Enjoy multiple stops along the way, where you can dive into the crystal-clear waters, snorkel among the vibrant marine life, and soak up the sun on the deck.
4. Wave Dancer Fireworks, Buffet Dinner & Show Cruise
Experience an enchanting evening on the Wave Dancer cruise. Revel in a sumptuous buffet dinner, enjoy captivating live shows, and witness the sky light up with a spectacular fireworks display, making it a night to remember.
5. Coral Bay, Adonis Baths Quad or Buggy Safari
Embark on an exhilarating safari to Coral Bay and Adonis Baths. Whether you choose a quad or a buggy, this adventure promises a thrilling ride through scenic landscapes, culminating in a visit to the legendary Adonis Baths, a natural wonder steeped in mythology.
Day Trips from Paphos
1. Akamas Peninsula
Discover the pristine landscapes of Akamas Peninsula, where nature trails, stunning coastlines, and turquoise waters await. Explore the region’s diverse flora and fauna while taking in the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Travel tip: Wear comfortable shoes for walking and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your exploration.
Experience the vibrant city life in Limassol, where you can stroll along the scenic seafront promenade, visit historic landmarks, and indulge in local cuisine. This coastal city seamlessly blends modernity with its ancient heritage, evident in its architecture and cultural attractions.
Travel tip: Visit the Limassol Castle in the old town, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s history.
3. Troodos Mountains
Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Troodos Mountains, known for their picturesque villages, centuries-old monasteries, and cool, refreshing climate. The region offers hiking opportunities and winter skiing, making it a year-round destination.
Travel tip: Check the weather forecast before heading up, as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains.
Where to stay in Paphos
Located on the Mediterranean coast of Cyprus, Paphos City is a stunning destination rich in culture and history. Known as the birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the city offers a blend of Blue Flag beaches, natural landscapes, and historical sites. The hotels in Paphos City range from luxurious beachfront resorts to budget-friendly accommodations, catering to various needs and preferences. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly stay, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, Paphos City has something to offer.
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Capital Coast Resort And Spa (★★★★)
- Description: Exclusive accommodation on offer at Paphos’ beachfront resort with a Spa, hot tub, hammam, sauna, and massage treatments.
- Price: €84 per night
- Rating: 7.7 (Good)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
Venus Beach Hotel (★★★★★)
- Description: Adjacent to the archaeological park of the Tombs of the Kings, this hotel is situated on a natural sandy beach.
- Price: €141 per night
- Rating: 7.7 (Good)
3. Budget Hotel
Veronica Hotel (★★★)
- Description: Offering affordable rooms with balconies and a large pool, located 20 minutes’ walk away from Pafos Harbour and Pafos Castle.
- Price: €72 per night
- Rating: 7.2 (Good)
4. Hotel for Family
Queens Bay Hotel (★★★★)
- Description: Set on a secluded bay, featuring outdoor pools, a floodlit tennis court, fitness room with sauna, and extensive gardens stretching down to the beach.
- Price: €104 per night
- Rating: 8.8 (Fabulous)
5. Hotel for Couples
Amphora Hotel & Suites (★★★★)
- Description: Enjoying a beachfront location at the ex SODAP Winery, offering accommodation with unobstructed sea views amidst landscaped gardens.
- Price: €140 per night
- Rating: 8.5 (Very good)
6. Hotel for Solo Travellers
Leonardo Cypria Bay (★★★★)
- Description: Beachfront hotel offering a pool with hydromassage jets and a restaurant, located 2 km from Paphos Town Centre.
- Price: €196 per night
- Rating: 8.3 (Very good)
Did you know? Facts about Paphos
- Paphos was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980 for its ancient architecture, mosaics, and religious significance. It was also selected as a European Capital of Culture for 2017.
- The city’s name is linked to the goddess Aphrodite, and the town’s founding myth involves Aphrodite’s statue being brought to life. Paphos became a significant center for Aphrodite’s worship in the ancient world.
- Paphos Archaeological Park covers most of the ancient Greek and Roman City and is home to four large and elaborate Roman villas with preserved mosaic floors, depicting scenes from Greek mythology.
- The city has two significant parts: Old Paphos, known for its historical and mythological importance, and New Paphos, a coastal area with a natural harbor.
- The Rock of Aphrodite, located a few miles outside Paphos, is believed to be the spot where Aphrodite rose from the sea. It’s a celebrated place of pilgrimage in the ancient Greek world.
- Paphos Castle stands by the harbor and has a history of being built, dismantled, and restored by different rulers, including the Byzantines, Lusignans, Venetians, and Ottomans.
- The city is home to numerous artists, particularly in the village of Lemba, where many have open studio shops. The Cyprus College of Art and the sculpture known as the Great Wall of Lempa are also located here.
- Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Paphos saw rapid economic growth, especially in tourism. The government invested in infrastructure, including Paphos International Airport, the country’s second-largest airport.
- The economy of Paphos heavily depends on tourism, with four major resorts in the district. Farming, especially banana, grape, and tobacco cultivation, also contributes significantly to the local economy.
- The city enjoys a hot-summer Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and pleasant, rainier winters. Snowfall occurs rarely, and heatwaves in July and August are relatively common.
FAQ about Paphos
What Are the Must-Visit Historical Sites in Paphos, Cyprus?
Paphos is home to several historical sites, including the Paphos Archaeological Park, which houses Roman villas with preserved mosaic floors, the Paphos Castle, Saranta Kolones, and the Tombs of the Kings. The ancient Odeon Theatre and the Byzantine Museum are also popular attractions.
How Can I Explore the Mythology of Aphrodite in Paphos?
Paphos is closely linked to the goddess Aphrodite. You can visit the rock of Aphrodite, where legend says she rose from the sea. The ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite, dating back to the 12th century BC, are also located in Paphos, offering a glimpse into the ancient worship of the goddess.
What Are the Top Resorts and Beaches in Paphos for a Relaxing Vacation?
Paphos offers several resorts including Kato Paphos, Coral Bay, Latchi, and Aphrodite Hills. The Aphrodite Hills resort features a five-star hotel, golf course, tennis courts, and spa. The beaches near these resorts provide opportunities for relaxation and water activities.
How Can I Experience the Art and Culture of Paphos?
The village of Lemba, just north of Paphos, is home to numerous artists and open studio shops. The Cyprus College of Art and the sculpture known as the Great Wall of Lempa are must-visit sites for art enthusiasts.
What Are the Unique Landmarks and Natural Wonders in Paphos?
Paphos is known for its natural and man-made landmarks such as the Paphos Lighthouse, Agios Neophytos Monastery, the Saracen Rock, and the Rock of the Greek. The Petra tou Romiou, also known as Aphrodite’s Rock, is a famous natural site associated with mythology.
How Is the Climate in Paphos, and What’s the Best Time to Visit?
Paphos enjoys a hot-summer Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and pleasant, rainier winters. The greatest amounts of rain occur from November to mid-March, while summers are mostly rainless. The mild temperatures make Paphos a year-round destination.
What Are the Transportation Options in Paphos, Cyprus?
Paphos offers public transport served by buses under OSYPA LTD. Intercity Buses provide connections across southern Cyprus. The A6 motorway connects Paphos with Limassol, and Paphos International Airport serves as a gateway to the city.
How Can I Explore the Archaeological Wonders of Paphos?
The Paphos Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site that covers most of the ancient Greek and Roman City. It includes the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus, and Aion with preserved mosaic floors, an Agora, Asklepion, a theatre, and the Tombs of the Kings.